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Authors: Kristopher Rufty

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PillowFace

BOOK: PillowFace
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PILLOWFACE

 

 

Kristopher Rufty

 

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.  This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people.  If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient.  If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy.  Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

PillowFace

Digital
Edition

Copyright © 2012 by Kristopher Rufty

Edited by: Jessica Jacobsen

Cover Art Copyright © 2012

 

All Rights Are Reserved.  No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.   

 

 

DEDICATION

 

 

For my wife Angie.

 

This one is also for Chad and Eric—so many adventures we had as kids

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

 

 

Jessica Jacobsen, Vanelle, Ronald Malfi, Jeff Strand, Don D’Auria, Louise Fury, Trent Haaga, John Russo, Gregory Lamberson,

Aleka Nakis, Kathleen Pickering, Heather Graham, Traci Hall, Jonathan Janz, Elena Hearty, Edward Lee, W.D. Gagliani,

Hunter Shea…and so many more.

 

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE

 

Psycho Holocaust
, a movie I wrote and directed a few years ago, features the trio of madmen that reside in this novel.  This book can be taken either as a prelude to the events portrayed in the movie, as a companion piece, or a standalone piece of work.  If you’ve seen the movie, then certain nods in the book will probably make you smile, however, if you have not, then there is no need to worry, for it will not affect your overall experience with the story.

 

If you want more after reading the book then I would encourage you to pick up
Psycho Holocaust
on DVD to see what happens next.  At any rate, I hope all of you who take the time to read this find some scares, some drama, and even a nuance of joy within these pages.

I sure did while writing them.

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

(I)

 

 

Mother Nature enjoyed playing tricks. Dawn Cunningham would vouch her hiking expertise on it, but the heavy crunching she‘d heard a few moments ago hadn’t been caused by Mother Nature’s peculiar sense of humor.  She’d hiked this trail enough to know that deer never wandered out this far away from the streams. Those arcane footsteps were too heavy to have been a raccoon or bunny, anything small, so that didn’t leave many other options.  Anything that size that wasn’t a deer wouldn’t be friendly and could do physical harm to either her or Kevin. And, as an added bonus, they were probably infected with rabies. 

She wondered if Kevin had heard the noises too. If he had, he wasn’t saying anything about it.  He’d just been sitting on the rock beside her, and drinking an abundance of bottled water.  She’d already warned him to take it easy.  They still had two miles left to hike to the quarry.  Up and down hill.  He needed to savor what he could. 

“About done?” she asked. 

Kevin belched.  “Just give me a minute to let my stomach settle, then I’ll be A-okay.”  He smiled.  His mouth was moist, and above his lip was a moustache of water beads. 

She’d worried that bringing him along was a bad idea. Kevin was
not
the outdoorsman he liked to think he was.  He could talk the talk, but once she’d gotten him to the isolated wilderness, he’d turned into a girl.  And, this was bad, considering she was the girl, and had been acting more like a man than he had.  But, after hearing those sounds on the other side of the grove, she’d gone into full girl mode. 

Dawn couldn’t shake the feeling that they were being watched.

“I’m ready to go, Kevin.  This spot isn’t good.”

“It’s better than any we’ve come across yet. It’s got shade, rocks to sit on, and that level spot right over there would be perfect to spread out the blanket and get a little…”

“No!”  He flinched at the loudness of her reaction.  She smiled, taking it down a notch. “Not here.” 

“Why not?”

She’d probably regret it, but she decided to tell him about the noises. She explained how it could not have been a deer, and if it was big enough to be heard where she was sitting, then they definitely didn’t want to meet it.

Taking it all in, he stared dumbly at the spot in the woods she’d mentioned.  From his expression, one would think he had never seen trees before.  “I don’t hear anything.”

Aggravated, she repeated herself, “Like I
said
, it followed us up from the path, then stopped over there.  I could hear it pacing behind the trees, settling where it could see us, but we couldn’t see it.”

“If that’s true, then what’s it doing?”

“Measuring us out.”

He shivered.  “What does that mean?”

“It’s seeing if we’re a threat.”

“Are we?”

“Highly doubtful.”

“Fuck.  I told you I should have brought my gun.”

“We don’t need the gun.” 

“Not right now, but we might later.”

He was right.  Why hadn’t she let him bring it?  She could have kept it in her backpack, far away from his trigger happy hands.  She supposed she didn’t think they’d actually need it. Only a day long hike to camp at Murmur Lake, then another lengthy hike back to the car. 
Just something fun for us to do as a team
.  They hadn’t been able to spend much time together lately, and she’d hoped this would be a good way of doing so. 

“What do
you
think it is?” he asked, putting his water bottle in the side pocket of his backpack. 

“I don’t know, but if it’s sizing us out, then it’s big, probably either a bear or mountain lion.  Bears aren’t so aggressive unless they’re threatened, but a mountain lion is.” 

Kevin put on his hat and shades.  He stood up stretching, his ligaments popping and cracking.  He held his right knee, rocking his leg back and forth until it popped good and loud.  Dawn flinched at the awful sound.  His old football injury had really been giving him some trouble in recent months.  It had happened in college and continued to nag him sporadically.  She wondered how it would hold up for the rest of the hike. 

So far, so good. 

But, if they had to run….

Don’t think about that. 

Kevin absentmindedly rubbed his crotch.  “I’ll take a whiz, and then we’ll head on.”

Dawn groaned.  “Do you have to do that here?”

“Why not?”

“Because...”  She pointed toward the trees. 

“I won’t go over there.”

“Damn it, Kevin.”

“Alright, jeez, I’ll hold it.”  He grabbed his backpack, slid his arms through the straps, and hiked it up on his back.  It tugged his sleeveless T-shirt up, exposing his burly abdomen.  He grabbed the bottom of his dampened shirt, and tugged it down. 

Dawn glimpsed his sweaty skin.  She felt a tingle inside her shorts, and was beginning to wish she had taken him up on his offer to spread out the blanket.  “Don’t be mad.” 

“I’m not.”

She stood up, lifted her backpack off the ground, and sat it on a rock.  “Yes, you are.  You think I’m being stupid.”

“No,” he said, smiling.  “I think you’re being
silly
, not stupid.” 

“That’s just a nicer way of saying I’m being stupid.”  Dawn glanced at him over her shoulder.  Her blonde hair drooped down into her eyes, fluttering in the breeze.  She figured she looked good. Skin sweaty and slick like she’d been oiled in butter.  She propped her leg on the rock, and let the pack lean against it.   She dug through its contents for her
Chapstick.  As she rubbed it across her lips she added, “You’re just being nice.”

She followed the path of Kevin’s stare to her arched leg. Her hiking shoes were tied tight, a segment of white sock showed above her ankles. Her halter top stopped below her breasts, leaving a wide band bare around the navel.  Her skin was dimpled at her ribs.  Rising shorts rounded securely over her buttocks.  The round curves peeked out from the bottom of her shorts.  She could feel Kevin’s eyes on her, and wondered if he’d noticed she wasn’t wearing any panties. 

Probably.

He finally spoke.  “You’re just being sexy.” 

“I think the sun’s getting to you.” 

“Maybe, but I still think you’re hot.”

“I
am
hot,” she said. “I’m ready to take a swim in some mountain water.  It’s cold at first, but feels
sooo
good after that.”

He laughed, but then stopped.  “Wait a second.  Did we bring any swim suits?”

“Nope.” She hitched her pack over her shoulders, threw on her sunglasses, and kissed at him. 

He should be ready to go now

Far away from those trees.

Just knowing that they’d be away from here put her at ease.  She could feel the water slurping her skin like an arctic tongue, swooshing between her legs, through the valley of her buttocks.  She wondered what Kevin’s reaction would be in the water.  Would he shrink up?  Probably at first, but she’d make sure it didn’t last.

They moved on. 

Staying side by side when they could, Dawn would only take the lead when the trail narrowed.  At times, she thought she heard something trailing them through the woods.  But, when she’d look over her shoulder, expecting to find a wild animal about to attack, she would find nothing. 

They reached the lake just short of two hours.  Within five minutes they were swimming.  Kevin did not shrink up like she had feared.  In fact, it took all she had to keep him off of her until they reached the flat rocks on the other side.  It was as if the cold water ignited a scorching spark inside of him.  They made love three times, and fell asleep under the sizzling sun. 

When Dawn finally woke up, the sky was no longer blue, but orange, and spilling a film of red over the clouds. There looked to be a coup
le red gashes in the violet canvas. The sun had nearly set.  She cursed herself for falling asleep.  They hadn’t even set up the tent yet, or gotten wood for the fire.  Hell, they hadn’t even made a makeshift fire pit to put the wood in.  And, they still had to swim back across before they could even get started.

They’d really messed up by falling asleep. 

Dawn sat up.  Her skin felt dry and tight as she stretched.  “Kevin wake up, we’ve gotta get back across. The sun’s going down, and we need to get things set up.”

Kevin lay on his side, his back to her. Deep in sleep, he didn’t acknowledge her, so she shook him.  But unlike her skin that was roasting and a little tight, his was cold. He felt sick. She hated to think he was coming down with something.  They didn’t bring any medicines with them, other than pain re
lievers and some first aid antibiotic ointments.

“Kevin? Are you okay?”  The shadow of the rocks above them cast a blue shade on his skin. She crouched, shaking him again. Then she realized the rocks weren’t making his skin look blue.  It actually was.  She grabbed his shoulder, rolled him over, and gasped.  A scream brushed her throat.  An arrow was lodged between Kevin’s eyes on the bridge of his nose.  Blood had streamed into his eyes and was already drying. 

He must have been dead around two hours.

Dead. 

The realization punched that scream out of her.  She dropped onto her rump. The rock jabbed her. How could she have not heard this? Kevin must have screamed, or made some kind of noise at least.  But, she hadn’t heard anything.  She wasn’t
that
heavy of a sleeper was she?  No, she usually woke up when the garbage truck parked in front of her house.  Surely she would have heard something happening to Kevin right next to her! 

Unless, he’d been killed somewhere else, and then placed beside her.  Or, maybe someone had shot the arrow from across the lake…. 

Her body started convulsing. Trembling as an uncontrollable breakdown of grief shook her like a seizure.  She could feel a part of her being ripped away. Kevin was dead, and she’d done nothing to prevent it.  She’d slept like a baby next to him while he was
murdered!

Dawn sprung to her feet.  Her back throbbed from lying on the rocks for so long.  She scanned the slopes above her.  They appeared to be deserted.  Just trees, grass, water, and rocks protruding from the ground like tombstones.  She remembered she was naked, and threw an arm over her breasts, squishing them against her chest.  The other hand shielded the neatly trimmed tuft of hair between her legs.  She’d never felt so exposed and vulnerable. 

She scanned the rocks for her clothes, but didn’t find them.   

Then she heard laughter. 

Goose bumps pimpled her arms. The laughter was high-pitched, and indistinct.  It sounded as if it had come from where they’d left their packs. With nowhere else to go, she had just one choice, one option for an escape. 
The water
.  She’d swim to the other side of the bank.  It would be tough.  Not only was it a lengthy swim to attempt, but the temperature had dropped. The water would be even colder than earlier, and it had been freezing then. After their first dip, she’d had the blazing sun to dry and warm her. All she’d have by the time she reached the other side,
if
she reached it, was the moon and night sky. 

A long shot, but a shot regardless, at her survival. 

Tensing up, preparing for the brutal cold splash of the water, she plunged.

 

(II)

 

Haley Olsen poured herself a hot cup of coffee.  A dabble spilled onto her thumb.  Before it could burn, she plopped her thumb in her mouth, and sucked.  The rich taste of caffeine, hazelnut creamer, and sugar was wonderful on her tongue. She moaned. 
Nothing like a great cup of coffee after an early jog and warm shower.
  She took another sip from the mug as she walked to the counter.  She sat the mug down, and tore a paper towel from the roll hanging under the cabinet, and wiped her hand.

“Joel!  I made you something to eat!”

She wondered what his mood would be this morning.  Last night had been awful.  The last five months had been nothing short of vicious with each day like another low-blow, or sucker punch to their already crumbling moral fiber. 

It began when their Mom and Dad were killed in a car accident back in the winter.  Their father, trying to keep a dinner reservation on date ni
ght, had accidentally run a red light, and the eighteen-wheeler that hit them tore straight through the car like football players ripping through a flag on game day. Haley hoped the police would have discovered the accident was somehow the trucker’s fault, like maybe he’d been drinking, texting while driving, or doped up on something, but no, that wasn’t the case.  The blame was all her father’s.  He’d been killed instantly, but Mom survived for two days on life support.  She never came out of the coma, and died peacefully when they pulled the plug. 

After that, it wasn’t long before they learned just how deceitful their own relatives could be. Distant kin, some they’d never even heard of, tried claiming a piece of their parents’ fortune as if it were a twisted lottery.  These
relatives
had assumed the money would be divided equally amongst the family, with all of them taking a healthy chunk of the
prize

BOOK: PillowFace
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